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Secretary Makeover in Cartouche Green

Today, we’re sharing the Secretary Makeover in Cartouche Green as part of the twin bedroom refresh at Bliss Barracks!

Shortly before Thanksgiving, my Mom asked if I would help her refresh a few spaces at Bliss Barracks.  She had been contemplating adding bits of blue and white to the home’s traditional color palette of reds, greens, plaids and creams for MONTHS before finally being able to commit to a sold game game.  

I told her to finish one room and if she didn’t like it, we would go back to using the old color palette.

But the minute we finished the blue and white guest bedroom refresh, I knew she would be able to stay on track because she loved the change immediately.

I know a lot of us can relate to how long the decorating process and creating a home we love can take.  Especially, when you’re changing your entire color palette from a dark one to a light one.   

Bliss Barracks has always been a very, very traditional home. And truth be told, I think my Mom was scared to make a decision because she didn’t want to lose the spirit of a house, they had fought to call home for so many years. 

If you’ve ever been in a military family, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Shopping the House Before Buying New 

I’m a big believer in shopping your house first before you buy anything new to decorate. So, while this secretary didn’t originally come from Bliss Barracks, it did come from a family member.

Bonus, it was free which made it the next best thing.

My Mom loved the curves on the secretary and how functional it would be in the space too.  The only problem was that it had a creamy ivory meets butter yellow factory finish which didn’t really go with the other traditional elements in the twin bedroom at Bliss Barracks.

I knew we could make it work though. Since my Mom is a very visual person, I asked her to style just the top to see if she liked it in the bedroom.

Of course, she loved it. So, I set about painting it a color that would complement the blue and white color palette she had already chosen for the twin bedroom refresh. 

Choosing the Right Paint Color 

After a very coastal start, we decided to change the paint color midstream to Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in Cartouche Greeen

The first color we tried was beautiful but it looked more like a Robin’s Egg Blue than the muted green my Mom wanted. 

While it took longer to finish the secretary because we layered two different paint colors on top of each other, the result was perfect!

Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been painting furniture for years or just a few months, if you know something is not working early in the process don’t be afraid to stop immediately and reassess the situation.   

Most of the time a painted piece of furniture can be fixed…

  • with a stain blocker
  • by layering paint
  • changing the paint color
  • adding a special finish like glaze or dark wax

Not always, but most of the time.  So, don’t be afraid to reassess when needed!

If you’re new to painting furniture, you can find more information in our Chalk Painting 101 post here.

Creating a Complementary Contrast

Once I finished the outside of the secretary makeover in Cartouche Green, I decided to leave the inside of the secretary with the original finish for a slight contrast.

Both the hutch and the top of the desk had more of a creamy ivory finish on the inside than the outside which had an original buttery yellow finish. 

I knew the contrast would make the items my Mom had been collecting to style the glass shelves raelly pop. 

My Mom is literally the queen of styling shelves.  And as far as styling the shelves for the secretary makeover goes, I just let her do her thing. 

The minute she knows she’s going to be refreshing a shelf space, my Mom starts looking for interesting and textured pieces to display. 

I put all of her best tips in this post, 8 Easy Tips for Styling a Dining Room Hutch, but you can use them to decorate any shelf!

A Few of My Favorite Shelf Styling Tips:

Keep the color palette consistent

Buy items with varying heights

Style the middle shelf (or the shelf at eye level) FIRST

Remember to incorporate a bit of nature

Almost all of the accessories my Mom used to style the shelves are either things she already had on hand or pieces she’s been collecting over time at thrift stores, estate sales or from our many trips to Renningers.

We’ve had this desk chair at Bliss Barracks for so long, I can’t remember not having it. But, I’m sure it’s an estate piece as well. 

Secetary Makeover in Cartouche Green

All in all, we’re excited about the way the secretary makeover in Cartouche Green came together.  I swear, the power of paint gets me every time!

It’s one of the most budget friendly things you can do to update a room or a piece of furniture.

I haven’t had a chance to put together the post for the twin bedroom refresh yet, but things are definitely taking shape…

We hope this post on the secretary makeover in Cartouche Green has helped to show you how simple it can be to update a piece of furniture you already have at home.  

Let us know if you’re planning to paint anything or if you’re all about embracing the dark wood trend this year!

Other Posts From Bliss Barracks You Might Enjoy:

Bliss Barracks Lanai Makeover Reveal 

Bliss Barracks Outdoor DIY Dining Table 

How to Build Side Tables from Store Bought Columns 

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. This turned out beautifully, CoCo! Lovely color and styling, too! So nice you and your mother enjoy working on projects together…my daughter and I are like that, too!

    1. I really appreciate it, Linda, thank you! I’ve worked on projects with my Mom for so long now it’s like I don’t ever remember not working on them with her 🙂 We have similar styles but they’re just different enough to keep things interesting. She and my Dad both are so creative which makes family work days a lot of un. I can’t wait to see what you and your daughter are up to this year. I know it’s going to be fabulous! Hugs, CoCo

  2. It looks beautiful! I love how bright and warm it feels. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Such a sweet thing to say, Traci, thank you! It’s crazy how one pop of color changed the space as much as it did but my Mom seems excited about it all which is exciting. Hope you have the best day, CoCo

  3. Vee Muller says:

    A lovely piece, CoCo. Good job!

    1. Thanks so much, Vee! I really appreciate it. We’ll be headed out treasure hunting later this week so hopefully, we’ll find everything we need to finish it all up 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

  4. Team Goat has done it again! The before and after of your painted secretary are night and day. You know how much we love blue and white – and the changes to Bliss Barracks are just beautiful. We can’t wait to see more! The Cartouche Green is the perfect blend. BTW – not sure if you heard, Amy Howard’s business is in Memphis and they were hit with a tornado over the weekend. She and Gene are fine…they are just working hard to get repairs done so that they can be up and running. Much love to you CoCo!

    1. Oh my gosh, yes, I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for them! I know it’s going to be a lot of extra work but what a blessing they are ok. They’re both such nice people. I hope they’re back up and running soon. Thanks so much on your sweet comments about Bliss Barracks. My Mom’s sister could not believe the difference in the secretary. I think had she known it was going to be that drastic, she probably would have kept it ha ha! Sending you love and hugs and thanks for the update on Amy and Gene, CoCo

  5. Coco, Love the new painted secretary. I have a cherry secretary in our bedroom that I have wanted to paint for years, but I just never seem to get around to it. This is definitely the inspiration I need. Your mom does do a great job of styling. Thanks so much for sharing at Tuesday Turn About.

    1. I appreciate your kind words so much, Carol, thank you! I love your style so I’m sure your cherry secretary will be amazing too. Hugs, CoCo

  6. Being able to re-love pieces you already have or acquire through family is the best! And you did a fabulous job:) Seriously, night and day! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

    1. Thank you so much Kathleen! I’m always a little worried when I paint pieces that once lived in other family members homes so I’m excited that both my Mom and her sister were pleased with how this secretary came together. I miss painting all the time and it really did change the look of the room which was fun 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

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